Timeframe of Resolution For A Theft Case In Alabama

Interviewer: How long does will a theft case last? I mean how long potentially, could it last?

Zach Peagler: Anywhere from two months to two years. I mean it just depends on what happens – you know, it depends on whether you want to go to trial, or whether you plead guilty right away, or whether you want to try and seek some kind of pre-trial diversion program – so it runs the gamut. But you need to – most important thing, you’ve been arrested, you’ve got a court date, you need to talk to lawyer to start to make a game-plan for what you want to happen and what your options might be.

Diversionary Programs For First Time Theft Offenders In Alabama

Interviewer: If someone’s like a first-time offender, are there any sort of programs – like diversionary programs – available to them?

Zach Peagler: Most courts nowadays have some sort of pre-trial diversion program for shoplifting cases in particular, and then some jurisdictions around Birmingham even have a felony theft court, is what they’ll call it. But even in those instances I still think, you know, your best avenue is to talk to a lawyer first. Make sure you even understand what those diversionary programs entail, because if you don’t play exactly by their rules, you could end up having plead guilty to something that you didn’t necessarily have to plea guilty to, or agreeing to some punishment that you wouldn’t necessarily have had. So the options are so vast and so complicated in the law and in the legal world these days. To me it’s just – if you can afford it, it is just bordering on insanity to not talk to a lawyer.

Common Scenario Associated With Theft Charges in Alabama

Interviewer: Is there a common scenario or story that you frequently hear about that someone tells you when they meet with you, when it comes to theft?

Zach Peagler: On those copper theft cases, it seems to be a recurring theme that they thought they had permission to take it or that they thought it was abandoned property. And that’s a legitimate defense in a lot of cases. I mean if you – it maybe what we call a jury nullification issue, too. Because sometimes what is not legally a defense still may make a lot of sense to a jury from the stand point in a jury trial saying, you now – ‘It didn’t technically matter if he thought this was abandoned copper or not, but what would you do if this was your neighborhood and it was laying on the side of the street’ or whatever the case may be; a jury can still look at somebody and say, ‘I’m not going to convict somebody over something like that’. So those do seem to be some of the recurring themes; it’s just, ‘I thought I had permission to get it’ or ‘I didn’t think it belonged to anybody and it had been sitting in the same place for two weeks’ or whatever – and those can be legitimate defenses.

Kleptomania Cannot be Construed as a Valid Defense for a Theft Charge in Alabama

Interviewer: Is Kleptomania a valid defense?

Zach Peagler: It would be an extreme long shot in Alabama. But I suppose you could make the defense if you had a diagnosis that essentially – and I don’t, let me clarify this, I don’t know what exactly it means from a psychological standpoint to be a kleptomaniac, but if you could prove that somehow you didn’t understand the nature of your actions or you didn’t understand right from wrong while you were committing these thefts, then I suppose it could be a valid defense.

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